Sri Lanka fears attacks could cost tourism industry US$1.5 billion

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry could see arrivals drop up to 30 per cent, with losses of US$1.5 billion this year following the deadly Easter bombings.

“Tourism will be the worst affected,” said Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera.

“We expect a 30 per cent drop in arrivals and that means a loss of about $1.5 billion in foreign exchange.”

The Minister said the country could take up to two years to fully recover from Sunday’s attacks on three luxury hotels and three Christian churches that killed 253 people.

The tourism industry in Sri Lanka was forecast to reach US$5 billion in revenue until the attacks, up from last year’s $4.4 billion, according to Samaraweera.

Tourist arrivals in the first quarter of this year rose 4.6 per cent to 740,600 from a year earlier.